The Healing Power of Forgiveness
After Ron’s sentencing, I was full of anger. How could they do this to my family?! How could a judge admit to having doubt about someone’s guilt and then turn around and impose a 14-25 year sentence? I couldn’t believe what I had just heard in the courtroom. What in the world was I going to tell my children?
I barely remember the drive back home. It was the second time in two months that I had to come home and tell the boys that Daddy wasn’t coming home. I had naively hoped and prayed that the judge would release Ron that day. I was so scared to face the future. The idea of raising my sons with my husband in prison was terrifying. But my fear was silenced by the intense anger I felt at the injustice of it all.
I woke up every morning feeling the pain of losing Ron to prison. But it didn’t take long before that pain turned into anger. I was angry because I had to do it all by myself – parent, protect, and provide.
I was angry...
…because I was embarrassed that my husband was in prison. Angry because I felt both hopeless and helpless. Angry because I was scared.
Instead of working through all of the fear and grief I was feeling, I got more angry at the judge.
The night of the trial, I wrote a letter to the judge telling him “I will never forgive you as long as I live.” Even though it was a series of events that led to that day of sentencing, all the blame in my head and heart was on the judge.
I was convinced he should have done something different. He should have acted on his stated doubt about Ron’s guilt. But he didn’t. He moved to the top of the list of people I was mad at.
The effects of anger
You will be shocked to find out how much this affected the judge. All of my anger and hatred toward him continued to grow. I got more and more angry and felt more and more consumed by it.
But it didn’t affect him at all. It was only affecting ME and MY FAMILY.
I was spending so much time thinking about how wrong he was in what he had done, and he probably didn’t even think of my family at all. My un-forgiveness was a poison I had to get rid of.
I had to work through each stage of forgiveness before I finally got to experience the healing power of forgiveness.
It took me a while to actually forgive the judge and all of those involved in convicting and sentencing Ron. I had to work through each stage of forgiveness before I finally got to experience the healing power of forgiveness.
Waking up in the morning and feeling GRATEFUL for my life was so much better than waking up angry and grieving. It was such a relief to be able to lay down the bitterness and walk away from it.
Have you ever watched a small child explore their world and seen their face light up with joy when they find something new or unexpected? There is gratefulness in that joy. Other things, we have to learn, practice, and keep working on to get right. I think gratefulness falls into both of those categories. Read more
Freedom to live
When un-forgiveness is released, freedom returns. Freedom to live, laugh, and fully love. I discovered that nobody is worth giving up all of that for. Least of all someone who hurt my family. We became more important than him. I haven’t carried a grudge since then because I realized they were too heavy for me to lug down the path I am on.
If you want to stand still, hang onto un-forgiveness. But if you have dreams of a better life, you need to let it go and move forward. Now, letting go doesn’t mean you have forgotten or that you trust that person again. It does mean that they no longer have any power over your life—not even your thoughts.
Steps to forgive
f you are wondering how to get there, I have some tips that worked for me.
First, decide you are done carrying un-forgiveness and that you are going to forgive.
Then, discuss it with someone who will hold you accountable. Telling your story and sharing your pain will help you heal as you also gain accountability.
Conflict is inevitable; what are you going to do with it? Being physically separated from your partner doesn’t make this any easier. So, if you want a permanent relationship, you need to recognize the three sources of conflict and have an appropriate strategy for each. Read more
Next, design a plan to keep you from sliding back into bitterness. Plan how you will occupy your time and thoughts to avoid spending them on the person who hurt you.
Finally, determine that you will forgive and that you will release the grudge you are holding in your heart. Remember, it is not hurting anyone but you and your family.
I know it is a hard journey. But if I can do it, so can you!
Keep focused on the goal of building a strong family and remember that you are in it to win it.
I am rooting for you-